SPOILER ALERT! It's Game Day: Islanders @ Devils
With the Islanders eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, Wednesday's game against the Devils is their first without having to worry about passing teams in the standings. The objective now is to play the role of the spoilers.
First up, New Jersey. The Devils are 4-5-1 in their last ten games, but recently received good news about forward Zach Parise, who has not played since November 2nd due to knee surgery. The forward is said to be feeling no pain while practicing, but he is an RFA after this season and is looking to return to the Devils before season's end to finish what might, and I mean MIGHT, be his final season in the red and black.
The Islanders are 4-3-3 in their last 10 and one of those overtime losses came in the Islanders last game against the Devils back on March 12th when Anssi Salmela picked up his first career overtime goal clinching a 3-2 Devils victory. The big story so far this week is the extension of goaltender Al Montoya, who is looking for his first win since signing the one-year deal.
To no one's suprise, the Islanders announced that team captain Doug Weight will miss the remainder of the season due to a series of back spasms, something that he has been struggling with since November. Andrew MacDonald will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum in his right hip. It will be interesting to see who Hamonic will be paired with on Wednesday. He has been practicing with Ty Wishart as his defense partner, let's see if Jack keeps it that way.
There are still two players who have objectives they wish to fulfill by the end of the season. P.A. Parenteau and John Tavares. Parenteau is two goals away from 20 and Tavares is three goals away from 30. Both are career bests.
The Devils are on the verge of officially being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. With a loss against the Islanders and a Buffalo win on Wednesday, their run will officially be stopped, which sparks the question: will Jacques Lemaire return behind the bench next year for New Jersey? The coach turned the entire team around in such a small time frame, coming out of retirement and jumping behind the bench before the midway point of the season. He also might consider retiring... again. But there is still plenty of time between now and next season to figure that out.
The newest on the injury block for this game is the absence of Milan Jurcina (hip) and Bruno Gervais (foot). Mark Katic and Dylan Reese have been recalled from Bridgeport as their replacements.
Don't forget to check in after the game for Daniel Friedman's post game blog!
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